Many of you probably heard that last week during the evening of Sept 14 into the morning of Sept 15, 2014, the areas in and around Cabo San Lucas took a direct hit from a category 3 hurricane. This storm, Hurricane Odile, did some major damage to homes, businesses and resorts and while we are happy to hear that there were no fatalities, the storm has left many people without homes.
When the storm hit, there were over 30,000 tourists at the many resorts and condos that were stranded. The airport remains closed due to damage but the hotels’ staffs and the military have been doing their best to keep all guests and staff out of harms way.
All during the time before and during and now after the storm, the travel agent community has been getting updates from various travel suppliers and hotels reporting on the safety of their guests and the status of the hotels.
Between commercial flights and Mexican military transport planes, all of the tourists will have been evacuated by now. Since the airport is badly damaged, the tourists were boarding planes directly from the tarmac and were flown to 4 different airports -Mazatlan, Guadalajara, Tijuana and Mexico City, in order to arrange for flights back home. American Airlines was airlifting stranded tourists to Dallas and Phoenix and were asking that we, the travel agent community, try to get the word out.
Luckily, My Vacation Lady had no clients in Cabo San Lucas during this storm but many of our colleagues did. One of our colleagues was down there during the storm and was reporting back once she had power and internet access. Another colleague finally made contact with her niece who was honeymooning in Cabo San Lucas. They were without power for over 2 days and had no running water. The hotels had food and were boiling water for the guests until they could be evacuated.
Tips on what to do if you are on vacation and a storm or hurricane is anticipated to hit:
1. If you have enough advance notice, TRY TO GET OUT BEFORE THE STORM HITS. Many of the airlines will have more flexible policies in anticipation of a storm. Your travel agent and tour operator and possibly, your travel insurance company may be able to help.
2. Keep all electronic devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops) full charged. If power is out for a while, you’ll want to have as much battery life as possible.
3. Keep your passport and all medications in a place that you can easily grab them if you are forced to evacuate in a moment’s notice.
4. Try to put valuables and a change or 2 of clothes into a small bag (tote bag, beach bag) to bring with you. If you are evacuated to a central location, you won’t be able to take all of your belongings. Our colleague was told to put her belongings in the room bathtub and to evacuate to the hotel ball room.
5. Take as much water with you as possible. While there may be bottled water available in the evacuation center, it may run out quickly.
The biggest tip My Vacation Lady can offer is to PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE when you book your vacation. Travel insurance may seem like a costly expense when you are booking your vacation but for those tourists who were just in Cabo San Lucas during the hurricane, we can be sure that they are thankful that they had it.